Posted on February 20th, 2014 by pajamapress
“It’s soup day at a Kenyan schoolhouse. While the teachers stir the broth, the children gather vegetables from the community garden. All except for one. Little Kioni is looking for her missing herd of goats, only to discover that they have followed her to school and are now wreaking havoc in the garden. A frustrated Kioni announces, ‘These pesky goats make me so mad… I’d like to put them in the soup.’ This statement turns out to be a ‘eureka’ moment in that the wayward goats do make a contribution to the soup… with their milk!
Alma Fullerton has incorporated the perfect ingredients to create an engaging and charming picture book. With its conversational tone, including a dash of questions and exclamations, Community Soup makes for an excellent read-aloud. One section is similar to ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb,’ which adds to the fun: ‘Kioni has a herd of goats/with hair of calico./And everywhere Kioni goes,/those goats are sure to —/ GO!’
Fullerton’s colourful three-dimensional art, which integrates paper sculpture and mixed media collage, draws readers into that lovely far-away community garden where cooperation, sharing, and commitment are so very important. One can almost feel the textures emanate off the pages. And, as a bonus, a recipe for pumpkin vegetable soup is included…”
Posted on January 31st, 2014 by pajamapress
A small school in North Bay, Ontario hosted a remarkable event for Family Literacy Day this week.
Inspired by the Family Literacy Day booklist
compiled by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, a teacher at J.W. Trusler Public School decided to organize a “Snuggle Up and Read” event, inviting parents to bring their pajama-clad children to school in the evening for cookies, milk, and story time. The evening’s feature family-themed book? Hoogie in the Middle
Stephanie meeting her audience
Stephanie McLellan, author of Hoogie in the Middle, heard about the event. Undeterred by a long, snowy drive and the expectation of a small audience (J.W. Trusler only has about 150 students), she decided to attend herself. The school staff, eager to welcome an award-winning author, spread the word to families, baked cookies, and acquired enough milk and books for a crowd.
The next day The North Bay Nugget described the event, which ultimately included over thirty families—more than 100 people: “Children came in their pyjamas and brought pillows, blankets, and favourite books. Board superintendent Amanda Meighan also read the award-winning bedtime story, ‘Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That.’”
Debbie Woods introducing Stephanie
Debbie Woods, the teacher who organized the event, described families using blankets and pillows to create cozy campsites on the gym floor while they listened to the stories. Stephanie McLellan called it “a fantastic event” on social
media, adding that “Debbie had a goodie bag for every family which included a book…”
Pajama Press salutes Debbie, Stephanie, and the CCBC for doing so much to encourage literacy and a love of books among children and their families.
Posted on May 27th, 2013 by pajamapress
“In this Stone Soup-flavoured story, a Kenyan school is busy with lunchtime preparations. While the teachers stir the broth, students pick vegetables from the community garden. Kioni is late—she’s looking for her goats, which have a habit of wandering away. Not only do the wayward animals break the “no goats at school” edict, they also wreak havoc in the garden. Frustrated by her uncooperative, stubborn charges, the young girl grumbles, “I’d like to put them in the soup.” A creative classmate sees a culinary opportunity and incorporates the goats’ milk as a special ingredient.
The book’s spare text warmly invites the reader into the daily life of the village. The simple sentences have a conversational tone and the superb pacing makes for a lively read aloud. Children will also enjoy the riff on “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (“Kioni has a herd of goats, / with hair of calico”).
This is Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award winner Alma Fullerton’s first time as both author and illustrator, and her paper-sculpture illustrations are a visual feast. When Kioni realizes the mess her goats have caused, her “oh no” moment is captured up close, as she gazes directly at the reader, hands covering her mouth with surprise and chagrin. In the field, the children’s bright clothing stands out against the leafy green background. Textures seem tactile, from the rough, peeling bark on twigs to the softly curling tufts of the goats’ hair.
Community Soup offers a satisfying blend of cooperation, hard work, and play…”
—Linda Ludke, a librarian at London Public Library.
Posted on February 6th, 2013 by pajamapress
The 4:00 Book Hook is a newsletter released bimonthly by a group of seven children’s book authors. In the current issue, author Alma Fullerton talks about her most recent book, A Good Trade, and why a new pair of shoes is so important to its protagonist—and to kids around the world.
“…I think it’s important for [children] to learn that even in North America, where children are expected to have two pairs of shoes for school every year, we have families that have to choose between groceries or shoes for their children.
It’s estimated that over 300 million children in developing nations don’t have shoes, and in many of those countries children cannot attend school without them. Could you imagine not being able to afford even a pair of ﬂip ﬂops for your child to go to school? Or if you could only afford one pair, imagine having to choose which child to send to school? For these families a pair of shoes can change the life and futures of their children
In places like Uganda, where A GOOD TRADE is set, shoes can not only change a life, they can save one…”—Alma Fullerton
To read the full article—and to get lots of other great book news—click here for a free e-subscription to The 4:00 Book Hook.
Posted on November 5th, 2012 by pajamapress
On October 29, 2012, Marsha Skrypuch and Tuyet Yurczyszyn (Nee Son Thi Anh Tuyet) visited Blessed Kateri School to talk about Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War and One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way, two non-fiction books that Marsha wrote about Tuyet’s dramatic childhood. The event was such a success that it was featured in the London District Catholic School Board’s Spotlight newsletter for November, 2012.
Click here and scroll down to the middle of the newsletter to read the story and see some great pictures.